According to a study published in Pediatrics, children with complicated pneumonia should be discharged with oral antibiotics rather than intravenous, when possible.

The study of more than 2,000 children with complicated pneumonia found no significant difference in treatment failure rates between those who received peripherally inserted central venous catheters (PICC) and those who received oral antibiotics after hospital discharge at 3.2% and 2.6% respectively, according to the research reported by Medpage Today.

Medpage reported that researchers identified 2,123 children from 36 hospitals who received oral (n=1,842) and PICC (n=281) antibiotics. “[They] found no significant differences in treatment failure rates between PICC and oral antibiotics, suggesting that oral antibiotics were as effective as intravenous in managing residual disease,” Medpage reported.

From the report:

Although use of PICC was not common, children who were discharged with PICCs experienced a high rate of infections, adverse drug reactions, and hospital readmissions, with PICC complications occurring in 7.1% of children who received intravenous antibiotics. These included PICC thrombosis resulting in malfunction (n=11), PICC dislodgement or breakage (n=4), insertion site cellulitis (n=1), and fever evaluation (n=1).

Additionally, 17.8% of children who received intravenous antibiotics required unplanned or emergency care ( emergency department visit, hospital readmission) compared with only 3.1% of children who received oral antibiotics. According to Shah, “this difference was attributable to PICC complications and a higher rate of adverse drug reactions in the intravenous antibiotic group.”